20 minute drive from the housewithnonails

Hobbiton Movie Set/ Hobbiton Movie set Tour/ Banquet

Hobbiton Movie Set is said to be “the world’s only living movie set”, attended daily, weeded vege patches, washing hanging out to dry and lights on inside the Hobbit holes. Experience the magic of the sights smells sounds and tastes of the Shire as featured in the lord of the Rings and Hobbit Trilogies. This heart of the Middle earth is a “must do” with its limestone outcrops, caverns, and rolling hills setting the home of Bagend, The hobbits and the party tree. Nestled in sheep farm just out of Matamata , book the Hobbiton Movie Set Evening banquet and dine like Bilbo Baggins, being guided through the Shire stopping at his house, the party tree and the famous Green Dragon Inn. Then stroll through the Hobbit village with glowing lanterns.

501 Buckland Road, Hinuera Matamata 3472

27 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Tirau/ “One Road Ice Cream Company”/ “Nottinghill Interiors”

After Hobbiton, drive the short distance to the little provincial village of Tirau translated “place of the Cabbage trees”, and take an iconic kiwi hokeypokey icecream experience at the “one road icecream Company”. Poke around the boutique shops and gift stores. I recommend Nottinghill Interiors for its countrychic collections. Notice the corrugated sheep, ram and big Dog buildings handcrafted locally.

Hillcrest street Tirau South Waikato

1 hour 30 min one way (Walking)

Te Waihou Walkway/ The Blue Spring

A natural spring fed from the Mamaku Plateau where the water takes 100 years to filter through, so the water is so pure and clean that it produces a beautiful blue colour while being virtually clear . Walk through wetlands, across rolling pastures, see small waterfalls and native bush. Watch for the trout known for its clear blue water, with a picturesque walkway.

Time- 1 hour 30 min one way- 3 hour return when walking from Whites road carpark, or take the short cut from Leslie Road Putaruru. Distance 4.7km

30 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Waikato River Trail/ Karapiro section/Lake District Adventures/ cycling tramping

A series of Waikato cycling and walking trails along the Waikato River, karapiro section is one of five closet to the housewithnonails . Lake District Adventures offers a historic tour of the river in the twilight hours, including a kayak Glow Worm tour, where you paddle the edge of the lake over the old submerged Horahora Dam then slowly up the Pokaiwhenua Stream and through the canyon carved out of water by many years of action.

Easy to access off State Highway 1, the Northern end of the Waikato River trails are located on Horahora Road, Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark, first 5.3km of trail begins. From Little Waipa reserve the trail sits alongside Lake Kariprio, taking in unique wetlands, over a 500 m continuous boardwalk with the destination of “Rhubarb cafe” in Arapuni Village.

Horahora Road, Pokaiwhenua Bridge carpark.

10 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Wairere Falls / Bushwalk track

A moss covered tree root adventure crossing bridges amongst small waterfalls and natural rock pools on a 3-4 hour 5 km return walk. Stand on TOP of North islands tallest waterfall and take in scenes of the mighty Waikato plains, ctach the sunset then descend down through the native bush to witness a glow work display come alive in the banks and a starry sky through the canopy.

Goodwin Road, Te Aroha 3471

20 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Te Aroha- Mount te Aroha Summit Track

A moss covered tree root adventure crossing bridges amongst small waterfalls and natural rock pools on a 3-4 hour 5 km return walk. Stand on TOP of North islands tallest waterfall and take in scenes of the mighty Waikato plains, ctach the sunset then descend down through the native bush to witness a glow work display come alive in the banks and a starry sky through the canopy.

196 Tui Road, Te aroha

20 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Te Aroha- Te Aroha Mineral Spas

In the historic spa town of te Aroha is the Domain with the only hot soda geyser in the southern hemisphere, renowned for its healing properties since 1800’s, these cedar tubs offer a relaxing soak in unique mineral waters. Book the romantic package and enjoy a candlelit private spa with roses and chocolates.

7 Boundary St, Te Aroha 3320, New Zealand

3 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Waharoa. Kaimai Cheese Factory / place to eat

Kaimai Cheese Company at Waharoa is a “top shelf” specialty natural cheese producer in the Waikato region. The building houses a factory, deli store and cafe , with the l;lo of a typical dairy factory of the 1920’s- contributing to the heritage of waharoa. The first dairy factory was built there in 1886. Cut and wrap up cheeses to your requirements, then sit down to enjoy a full menu in the cafe from 8-3pm Monday to Sunday. My favourite dish being the Crumbly Blue- kaimai Blue cheese crusted Sirloin steak cooked in wed wine and brown sugar adding cinnamon and dates- served with a hearty merlot!!!!

Centrally located in Waharoa on SH 27, just North of matamata.

2 hawes street, Waharoa

60 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Ecological Park in New Zealand / Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Judged Australasia’s “top 25” ecological restoration project, this mainland ecological island is surrounded by the world’s longest pest proof fence. An ancient forest setting offering a sanctuary for populations of many of our most endangered species such as birds, skinks, geckos, frogs bats and insects. This is an ancient experience of native wildlife up-close and full of birdsong. A great day out for the kids.

99 Tari rd, Pukeatua 3883

40 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Hamilton Gardens- themed Garden rooms walk.

The Hamilton Garden is the most visited tourist attraction in the Waikato. It is telling the story of gardens through themed gardens including Indian Char Bagh, Italian Renaissance, Japanese Garden, Chinese Scholars, English flower garden, Modernist Garden, te Parapara Garden, Sustainable garden, herb garden, kitchen garden, fantasy garden tropical garden, Chinoiserie garden, Mansfield and proposed Fantasy collection gardens. Enjoy the cafe.

Botanical garden. Hungerford Cresecent, Hamilton East Hamilton

1 hr 27 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Raglan/ Manu Bay

This is a coastal town with a great surfing vibe and Bohemian shopping style. Its known for its black sand Ngarunui Beach and long surf break at Manu Bay which is said to have “the longest most accessible consistently left hand break in the world”!!!!!This means if you have the skill and can catch a wave and cruise up to 2 kms as featured in the movie “endless summer” 1966. If not join Raglan surf school 3 hour learners lesson. Rated by CNN as one of the Top 10 Adventure activities in NZ!!!!

In the south, native forest surrounds the tall Bridal Veil Falls and Mount Karioi is an extinct forest clad volcano with summit views over the tasman Sea. This is a place of stunning scenery, beautiful beaches, and funky cafes. I recommend The Shack in the heart of the main Street in raglan for a trendy locally grown whole food experience. Then take a sunset cruise aboard the wahinemoe at sunset and explore the raglan harbour.


2 hrs drive from the housewithnonails

King country Places/Kawhia/ Kawhia Harbour drive/ Kawhia kai festival annual event

The annual event kawhia Kai festival, is a celebration of maori food from the land and sea and is held on the closet to Waitangi day each year. Kawhias resident population is 400 and this event brings together whanau , locals, visitors, holiday makers and tourists to celebrate. Set in the heart of kawhia, try delicacies like shark liver pate and fermented corn in a popular hangi. Be entertained with music bands and local kapahaka groups- this is one of the top ten indigenous events in New Zealand and perfect to experience the maori culture

Kawhia harbour drive is alongside the large estuary whih was formed when a valley was filled with water and blocked by a sand bar at the coast. The harbour provided food for generations of maori communities and remains a popular fishing spot today. On a still sunny day the waters are like a huge mirror. Visit Kawhia town ship for fish n chips by the wharf .

2 hrs drive from the housewithnonails

Waitomo / KingCountry/ Waitomo caves, Marakopa falls, Piripiri caves

Enjoy a “packaged day out” in the King Country, driving along Te Anga Road Waitomo. It starts with exploring the many Waitomo Caves in the area, said to be one of the wonders of the world and dare yourself to go black water rafting down below, which is said to be a world class exhibition. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites grow upwards on the ground level. It is awe-inspiring. Visit the kiwi house at Otorohanga and the Native Bird Park, 20 Alex telfer Dr, Otorohanga 3900

Te Anga Waterfall- Marokopa falls, 31 kms west of waitomo on te anga road, a 10 minute bushwalktakes you to a vewing platfor, of the Marokopa falls described as the most beautiful waterfalls in new zealand30 m high falls cascade powerfully over a greywacke bluff.

Piripiri cave walk 29 kms west of waitomo on te anga road, offers visitors to view an incredible cave free. Past limestone outcrops and native bush and down a small staircase take a torch and find the fragile ecosystems inside the cave.

Stop off and visit the 17m high Mangapohue natural bridge, and take the walk through ancient limestone arches created millions of years ago, by the mangapohuestream . The bridge is a remnant of an ancient cave system. View the stalactites on the upper arch’s ceiling. See i you can find the 25 miiliion year old fossilised oysters that are exposed in the limestone outcrops. Walking time- 20 mins

Distance from the waitomo caves- 25 km

drive from the housewithnonails

Good George Brewing & Dining Hall

This is a great story I love to share of a bunch of friends who got together and brewed craft beer and opened Hamilton’s first independent pub, dedicated to craft beer from New Zealand. Set in the former St Georges church, an awesome space for creating a dining hall and brewing pub. The brewery is right there infront of you, 14 tanks, with bottling canning packaging done onsite. Sit down to small platters, smoke bowls, sides, good bar Buns, mains of chicken, fish, beef and vegetarian options, desert to follow, pizza and of course good beers and cider.

32a Sommerset Street Frankton Hamilton 3204

47 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Zealong Tea Estate/ tea ceremony

Zealong Tea estate are producers of award winning New Zealand tea !00 % organic new Zealand grown. This is a world leading tourist destination for tea art and hospitality Take a tea tour where it started with a camellia tree and explore unique sculptures, learn how tea is picked and processed. Join a ceremonial Zealong tea tasting teaching the art of tea appreciation, aroma and taste followed by a high tea at the tea house overlooking the estate.

Zealong Tea Estate 495 Gordonton Road, 3281 Hamilton

 drive from the housewithnonails

Kaimai Mamaku Conservation park/ Karangahake Gorge Waikino/ Hauraki cycle Track, bay of plenty region.

The Kaimai Mamaku Park offers wonderful walks, in particular the “karangahake Gorge Windows walk”. This short walk crosses the swingbridge over the Oniemuri river from the karangahake reserve carpark. Stunning scenery holds spectacular mining remnants including disused gold mining tunnels. Borrow a torch from the housewithnonails and find the historic wagon along the walkway along the 2.5 km loop for 1 hour windows walkway. Find abndones buildings from the talisman battery. The old gold mining tunnels have four openings or windows which look down on the gorge far below. Emerge from the cliff and descend crossing the river back to carpark.

SH2, Karangahake 3674

 40 mins drive from the housewithnonails

The falls retreat cafe/ food eatery/ workshops/ bistro.

Clearly my most favourite place to eat!!! Down the road from the Windows walk in the karangahake gorge , The falls retreat is a place to escape the busy ad enjoy the delicious food and such a relaxing atmosphere under the trees by the large vege patch. Stay eat celebrate. Its a natural experience you find yourself wanting to come back to again and again. The bistro is a cottage style building with this open kitchen so you can watch the chef work his magic. The wood fired oven sits in the centre of the kitchen . I love the sharing platters served on rustic boards. These are seasonal tasters- smoked salmon, pickled cauliflower, pork tenderloin with honey lagneh butternut and goats cheese with a carrot and currant salad, beetroot chutney and blue cheese and always a side of seasonal vegs of the day from the garden beside.

There are workshops about growing healthy veges, to experience the paddock to plate ethos of the falls retreat so bring your gumboots and have a light gourmet wood fired pizza lunch and salad sat their rustic barn.

25 waitawheta rd waihi 3682

drive from the housewithnonails

Paeroa/ The Refinery/ antique shopping

Paeroa is located at the base of the Coromandel peninsula and guests are encouraged to stop in there for its entrance into the karangahake gorge, popular for gold mining history, walkways, winery fishing, rock climbing, swimming and the Hauraki rail trail. Said to be” the Antiques capital of the New Zealand” and home to the therapeutic spring waters mixed with lemon called “lemon and Paeroa” or L&P world famous in New Zealand.

Visit a cafe nestled in the heart of Paeroa and taste their Mt Atkinson coffee. This is a charming rustic atmosphere in a perfect base for riding the Hauraki rail trail and exploring the karangahake Gorge and antique shopping. This cafe is set in the history of the town, with a building that was originally commissioned as the national Bank gold refinery in 1914. Massive solid concrete walls, double height stud capped with huge timber beams and a rimu roof structure makes it a grand stop to eat a large light filled space with old armchairs and a roaring fire. Read a book or sit outside under the trees within the ivy covered walls of the setting. On my visit I fell in love with their famous Beef potato onion cheddar pastries with a homemade beetroot chutney served with a seasonal salad.

5 Willoughby Street Paeroa

48 mins drive from the housewithnonails

Bay of Plenty/ Greerton Village vintage self tour/ Mount Maunganui walk/ hot saltwater pool swim/French shop

The Bay of Plenty is a 40 minute drive over the kaimai ranges in view of the housewithnonails.

The region offers an opportunity to experience fayre, vintage, retro and steam punk events, 6 km from downtown Tauranga. I love the self made tour of the antique and opportunity second hand shops. If you love all things oophlah- visit the French vintage store , for French curiosities, focus on unique pieces, like French elm tables, French school chairs, mirrors, preserving jars from the 1940s.

Climb Mauao , Mount Maunganui an extinct 232 m tall volcano at the end of a peninsula at Mount Maunganui. This a a very important sacred place to the Local Maori. It provides a quick jog with views of the city and harbour around a 2 mile base walk. Enjoy a hot salt water swim at the hot pools at the base of the Mount, then a famous Copenhagen waffle ice cream across the road.

5 Willoughby Street Paeroa

drive from the housewithnonails

Rotorua/ Hamarana Springs Reserve/ Wai-o-tapu/ Kerosine creek/ railcar  attractions

Like stepping back in time, the Hamarana springs has the most crystal clear icy waters with hues of turquoise, jade and emerald , presenting a tranquil half hour walk, through a redwood grove, to a main spring Te Puna-a-hangarua, the dancing sands spring with a wide variety of wildlife. . The water starts in the Mamakus and filters down for 70 years reaching the spring, eventually heading out to the Pacific ocean at Makatu where the first Arawa waka canoe hit the shores of the country. The spring is 290 m above sea level, and the white and black sands bubble away throwing up little clouds that dance and sparkle when caught by the light. Love this place.

Wai-o-tapu is one of New Zealands most unique geothermal and volcanic acticity thousands of years in the making.It showcases the most colourful geothermal elements. Lady Knox geyser erupts daily to heights of 20 metres.

Travel along SH5 towards Rotorua for 53 kms abd turn right 1km to the geothermal wonderland 1hr 16 from matamata, 11/2 hours from housewithnonails 201 waiotapu loop road, RD3 Rotorua

Kerosene Creek is a stream of hot water and flows downhill from Natural bush. Love the good old fashioned kiwi corrugated changing shed. Make your own hot pool with surrounding rocks and let the gentle stream of hot water flow over your body. Its the perfect temperature in a very natural setting of cascading waterfalls.

The railcruising experience is a 10 km one direction drive in the worlds first fully automated state of the artpetrol electric four seater self drive hybrid rail vehicle. 360 degree views alone together in the bush, from Mamaku to Tarukenga rail stations.

drive from the housewithnonails

Golf course/ Walton/matamata/ Okoroire courses

Walton Golf Club course is a little gem, in the countryside. Well planted attractice trees and well defined fairways. 18 holes, Par 72, 5793 m , ten carts available on request. Great hospitality in the clubhouse.

Matamata Golf course. Silk rd, Okauia 3471
Okoroire golf club, 18 Somerset Rd Okoroire 3485

House with no nails

  • Wairere Falls – 7 mi / 11.3 km
  • Founders Park – 8.5 mi / 13.7 km
  • Matamata Golf Club – 11 mi / 17.8 km
  • Mokena Geyser – 15.2 mi / 24.5 km
  • Hobbiton Movie Set – 18.1 mi / 29.1 km/li>
  • Lake Karapiro – 20.1 mi / 32.4 km
  • Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park – 21 mi / 33.9 km
  • Te Waihou Walkway – 26.7 mi / 42.9 km
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